Chieti travel tips
The distance from Pescara to Chieti is only 20 kilometres. But historically, architecturally and culturally these two provincial capitals in Abruzzo couldn’t be more different. Here are our Chieti travel tips.
After Italian standards Pescara is a wide-spread town with new housing developments and new opportunities attracting new inhabitants from all over Abruzzo. A place for people with an upward social mobility, who are ready to embrace the future. Chieti on the other hand is still centered in a nucleus around the old piazza. And you can almost see the superior views and old bourgeois family values in the design of the beautiful old palazzos and houses. Chieti has style, while Pescara has drive. So my list of Chieti travel tips starts with a piece of advice to the ladies: Remember to bring your heels.
1. Let them entertain you
Chieti is strong on performance art. Last time we visited was during the annual ‘Settimana Mozartiana’, where there were outdoor rhythmic and classical concerts – but no Mozart – around the clock, and where actors walked the streets wearing big wigs and period dresses. A memorable event, but not the only one. In Teatro Marrucino there’s drama, poetry and music throughout the year. And the original name of the place and ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheater indicate that the people in Chieti have a long tradition for entertainment.
2. Join a nunnery
One of the spectacular things about Chieti are magnificent views of the Abruzzo mountains and the Adriatic coast. Still, I would very much like to walk along the eaves of Cattedrale di San Giustino, where there’s a most enticing arcade floating from one bell tower to the other. Would be grand to walk there around sunset, but I think you may have to join a nunnery or be an arch bishop to enjoy that privilege.
3. Collect vintage shop signs
I don’t think I have even visited a city with so many vintage shop signs. Walk along the pedestrian area on Corso Marruccino and enjoy shop fronts with the gold lettering and high waisted fonts from the turn of the previous century. Or have a drink or an ice cream at Caffe Vittoria that still has what I believe to be one of the original commercial ads for ‘Aranciata San Pellegrino’ from 1932 in its windows. Chieti is obviously not a sucker for modernity or a town where fashion and tastes change overnight.
4. Dancing with dinosaurs
For a dance with a real dinosaur go to the University Museum in Piazza Trento e Trieste. This biomedic history museum has an exhibition that includes the skeletons of two 135 million year old dinosaurs, an giant egg from the flying Pterosaur reptile and other fossils illustrating natural history and evolution along with a fine collection of mummies from the Abruzzo region. You don’t have to be a child to find these exhibitions profoundly fascinating.
5. Bring a book to Villa Communale
To round off a wonderful day in Chieti I would bring a book to Villa Communale. This public park from 1893 has been the meeting point for generations of Abruzzi with shady trees, fragrant flowerbeds, strange statues and artistic fountains. There’s even a small pond and a playground, where children can run around while their parents and grandparents sit and chat on the benches. A perfect spot to relax, read or do some serious people watching.